Issues and Concerns of Civil Society on Guam
Presented by Edward A. Alvarez
United Nations Caribbean Regional Seminar
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
31 May - 2nd June 2011
United Nations Caribbean Regional Seminar
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
31 May - 2nd June 2011
The island is the southern-most tip of the Marianas Archipelago located in the Micronesian region of Oceania. Guam is a mere 212 square miles in area and is barely bigger than a dot in most world maps. While the island and her people remained in relative isolation from the Western world for over 3,500 years from first indications of settlement, its strategic geographical location as a crossroad between the East an d West has historically resulted in colonization by various world superpowers. Spain was the island's first colonizer having stumbled upon Guam in 1521 and continued its control until the end of the Spanish-American War in 1898. Spain was followed by the United States; when Guam, a spoil of war, became a possession of the U.S. The island experienced a brief interruption of American colonization during World War II, when it was invaded and occupied by the Japanese Imperial Army from 1941-1944. Today, the island remains a possession of the United States as an "unincorporated territory"; a manifestation of neo-colonialism in a professed era of democratization by the U.S.
Chamorros (Chamorros), the native inhabitants of Guam and the Mariana Islands, migrated into the region as early as 4,000 years ago as part of the Austronesian descent into the Pacific. Chamorros' continuous colonial history is one of the longest of all colonized peoples in the world. As an unincorporated territory, island residents do not have the rights of full U.S. citizens -they are not eligible to vote in the U.S. presidential elections, nor does their one elected congressional representative have a right to vote on the floor level of Congress. While the representative has the right to vote at the committee level of congressional activity, the vote is void if it is a tie-breaker. Further, Guam is limited in its ability to develop a viable economy as prescribed in specific federal-territorial policies. In addition, the island has territorial caps established by the federal government that limit its share of federal funding for programs such as Medicare. In light of this political status, Chamorros are on the United Nations' list of Non-Self-Goveming Territories (NSGTs) of the World. The list was established by the United Nations in an effort to end the colonization and exploitation of the world's peoples by recognizing and supporting their right to political self-determination.
Chamorros lived in harmony and with deep respect for the environment; recognizing that the land and sea provided sustenance for living. Society was hierarchical with a class system that provided a complimentary place for all of its members to thrive. Chamorro society was also matriarchal, in which women were revered for their ability to give birth to children. As part of their matriarchal responsibilities, women were the decision-makers and the transmitters of clan land. Ancient Chamorros were also noted for their scientific ability in the construction of aerodynamic canoes or proas, which were described as "flying" because of their swiftness.
Traditional Chamorro values continue to be practiced today. For example, in ancient times, Chamorros engaged in ancestral veneration and this deep sense of spirituality is still expressed in their reverence for the taotao-mona or ancestral spirits. In addition, core Chamorro values that have sustained time include fa'taotao (a deep respect for treating others as should be afforded fellow members of humanity) and mafa'maolek (protecting the peace and harmony in the community by getting along). Traditional practices such as chen 'chule' or reciprocity are also practiced today, in which Chamorros help each other particularly during significant life events such as in the birth of a child, marriage, or at the time of death with offerings of money, food, material goods, helping hands, and so forth. Considering Chamorros' history of colonization by world superpowers for over 350 years, their very existence is a testament of their sustainability and resilience over time. The planned United States mega-base build-up for Guam presents the current major threat to the survival of the Chamorro people on the island.
Militarization's Impact on Guam and Her People
Guam and her native people have a history with militarization that parallels its 350 year-old colonization. The Spanish Era of Guam's history spanned from 1668 through 1898, when Father Diego Luis de San Vitores established a Catholic mission on the island. This period evidenced a multitude of Spanish Chamorro wars, wherein Chamorros (typically led by their chief) resisted the Spanish and the ideology they preached. Maga'iahi (Chief) Hurao was one such chief who is most noted for his articulate speech that captures the essence of the time. Below is an excerpt from the speech delivered by Maga 'lahi Hurao in 1671:
The Spaniards would have done better to remain in their own country. We have no need of their help to live happily. Satisfied with what our islands furnish us, we desire nothing. The knowledge which they have given us has only increased our needs and stimulated our desires. They find it evil that we do not dress. If that were necessary, nature would have provided us with clothes. They treat us as gross people and regard us as barbarians. But do we have to believe them? Under the excuse of instructing us, they are corrupting us. They take away from us the primitive simplicity in which we live.
They dare to take away our liberty, which should be dearer to us than life itself. They try to persuade us that we will be happier, and some of us had been blinded into believing their words. But can we have such sentiments if we reflect that we have been covered with misery and illness ever since those foreigners have come to disturb our peace? ...
The Spaniards reproach us because of our poverty, ignorance and lack of industry. But if we are poor, as they tell us, then what do they search for? If they didn't have need of us, they would not expose themselves to so many perils and make such efforts to establish themselves in our midst. For what purpose do they teach us except to make us adopt their customs, to subject us to their laws, and to remove the precious liberty left to us by our ancestors? In a word, they try to make us unhappy in the hope of an ephemeral happiness which can be enjoyed only after death ...
Let us not lose courage in the presence of our misfortunes. They are only a handful. We can easily defeat them. Even though we don't have their deadly weapons which spread destruction all over, we can overcome them by our large numbers. We are stronger than we think! We can quickly free ourselves from these foreigners! We must regain our former freedom!
The Spanish Era was followed by the American Naval Era from 1898 until war time occupation by the Japanese Imperial Army in 1944. The Naval Era on Guam began when the island was purchased by the United States from Spain following the Spanish-American War. Guam was (and continues to be) a perfect example of colonial control and non-democratization in America. Native Chamorros were not afforded any form of representative government and were subjects of the auspices of shifting naval officers serving two-year terms in the capacity of governor. While some naval officers were more sympathetic to the local people than others, the relationship with the U.S. federal government was consistently cold and dis empowering. There were a number of initiatives on the part of ruling Naval administrators that sought to give people on Guam a semblance of participation in government, such as in the establishment of a Guam Congress in 1917 that was solely an advisory body to the Naval administrators and the proposed Bill of Rights for the Chamorro people in an effort to establish civil rights recognized by the government. In the case of the latter, these efforts received no response from federal counterparts. Perhaps the most common experience of Chamorros during the Naval Era of Guam's history was the regulation of their lives by naval ordinances that prescribed daily living. Those who lived through this era described it as living on a Naval ship. Children were trained to march militantly in schools, public health officials conducted village inspections to ensure that communities were properly sanitized, and those ill with leprosy were confined to a specific part of the island and eventually exiled to the Philippines.
Guam's Naval Era was followed by the World War II Era from 1941 through 1944, when the Japanese Imperial Army invaded the island. The island's native people suffered major atrocities of war; including numerous group massacres, rapes, work encampment, and the enslavement of palao 'an guerra or comfort women to satisfy the sexual urges of Japanese soldiers. The war was a crime against the entire island, wherein the land, sea, way of life, and small scale economies of the island were destroyed. Guam's leaders and victims of war continue to testify in Congress to obtain compensation for the personal atrocities committed against Chamorros during the war period. The bill titled the Guam World War II Loyalty Recognition Act (HR44) is the more recent attempt at getting compensation. This pilgrimage to Congress continues even if it has been 66 years since the end of World War II. There were more than 22,000 people who lived through the war on Guam. Of that group, less than 1,000 are alive today, and more continue to die without compensation. Seeking war reparations in Congress is a flagrant example of the disregard for Chamorro human rights. Particularly because Chamorros were only colonial subjects and non-U.S. citizens at the time of the war, yet, Guam was invaded on account of being a U.S. possession.
Guam's World War II Era ended in 1944, when the United States came back to reoccupy the island. The recapture of the island resulted in a massive U.S. military bombardment to retake the island. Following the American re-entry onto the island, the island's people were moved into concentration camps while the Navy rezoned the land. As a result of this process, those who lived in the coastal village of Sumay were relocated to the neighboring village of Santa Rita so that Sumay could be used for the U.S. Naval base in the southern part of the island. Following World War U, up to 82% of the island was taken by the Department of Defense for military purposes at its highest level of occupation. Since then, lands have been periodically returned resulting in the current occupation of roughly one-third of the island. Through advocacy of grassroots organizations such as I Nasion Chamorro or The Chamorro Nation, land programs have been initiated at the local level. However, the U.S.'s current military build-up plans entail additional land takings that will increase the percentage of U.S. military occupation of Guam to about 40%.
Another area of great concern for people living on Guam as a result of militarization is the impact of U.S. bases on the physical environment. In a correspondence dated February 8, 2010 from the Department of the Navy's Joint Guam Program Office (JGPO), Director John Jackson stated the following of the island's military cleanup sites:
Of the 95 Air Force and Navy IRP [Installation Restoration Programs] sites on Guam, 41 have been cleaned up and the actions associated with those sites are complete; 11 sites have had all clean-up actions completed and are awaiting final administrative actions to be finalized before they are declared complete; 16 sites are in a long-term management status; 7sites are undergoing clean-up; and 9 sites are undergoing feasibility studies or investigation to determine what future actions. if any. are required at those sites.
It is disconcerting to know that on an island of 2l2 square miles, there are a total of95 toxic sites. While there has been some progress made toward clean-up by the Department of Defense, it is worrisome that 16 sites are in a long-term management status and that nine sites are "undergoing feasibility studies and investigation to determine what future actions, if any, are required at those sites." What are the implications on the health status of the island's people if there is no action taken on such designated toxic sites?
While the island is ridden with military cleanup sites akin to an ecological disaster area, this does not take into account its radiation exposure as a result of the U.S. atomic bomb testing that occurred in the Marshall Islands between the 19408 and 1960s. According to Guam's Senator Ben Pangelinan, the National Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences have acknowledged that, "Guam did receive measurable fallout from atmospheric testing ofnuclear weapons in the Pacific." Efforts to address the presence of radiation on Guam have not been made by the Department of Defense. While the Pacific Association for Radiation Survivors (PARS) continues to advocate for the inclusion of Guam on the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) of Congress as downwinders; the island is only recognized in the compensation category of on-site participants, of which only those connected to military service on the island qualify and not the total exposed population of the island as in the case of downwinders compensation.
Indications of poor health outcomes have been reported for people on Guam-particularly for native Chamorros. The 2003-2007 Cancer Facts and Figures publication stated, "There has been an 18% increase in the annual, age-adjusted incidence rates, and a minor increase in mortality rates per 100,000 population" on the island (GCCCP, 2009, p. 2). It also indicated that there were reportedly disproportionately higher incidence rates of the following types of cancers for Chamorros: mouth and pharynx, nasopharynx, lung and brochus, cervix, uterus, and liver. Scientific research has established the connection between exposure to toxic environmental sites and incidence of cancer. In addition, presentations from the Department of Public Health and Social Services personnel have indicated a recent rise in birth defects inclusive of the absence of eyeballs in babies and malformations of internal organs.
Another byproduct of militarism is the deferral of the inherent right of the Chamorro people to political self-determination. The continued colonial status of Guam affords the United States "maximum flexibility" with its Department of Defense expansion projects, implying the non-consent of the people. According to Captain Robert Lee, " ... Guam is ideal for us because it is a U.S. territory and therefore gives us maximum flexibility.". In the case of bases in foreign countries, the U.S. would have to enter into a Status of Forces Agreement, however, this is not necessary in the case of Guam. The population influx connected to the increased military presence has contributed to the political minoritization of indigenous Chamorros. This process is consistent with the colonial experience of indigenous peoples in nations such as Hawai'i, the aboriginal peoples of Australia, Native American tribes in the U.S., and the Taino Indians of Puerto Rico. The process of political minoritization ensures in lack of political power for native peoples in their respective homelands.
The final impact of the militarization of Guam to be discussed is the people of Guam's dangerously high rates of enlistment in the U.S. Armed Forces. A number of private and public high schools on the island, as well as the University of Guam all host JIROTC programs. Two reasons that contribute to the high rate of enlistment are the limited economic opportunities on the island, as well as the high level of patriotism to the United States that came out of the World War II experience. While the choice to enlist in the U.S. armed forces certainly provides opportunities for employment, it also entails a number of safety risks. Consistent with high enlistment rates is the significant number of local people returning home deceased or disabled from wartime service.
History of Decolonization Efforts on Guam
Public Law 23-147 which created the Commission on Decolonization supplanted the Commission on Self-Determination which was established in 1980 and mandated to conduct a public education program on five political status options: Independence, Free Association, Statehood, Commonwealth and Status Quo. After a series of public meetings, which were classified as educational efforts, a plebiscite was conducted in 1982. All registered voters of Guam were permitted to vote. In that plebiscite, the status options of Statehood and Commonwealth garnered the highest number of votes -however, neither option garnered 50% +1 to establish a majority. A run-off was held in which the Commonwealth status garnered the greatest number and a clear majority of the votes. (A review of the Draft Commonwealth Act will reveal that Commonwealth status was never considered a permanent political status but rather a transitional mechanism through which the final status would be resolved and established).
In 1983, then Governor Ricardo J. Bordallo initiated efforts to develop a Draft Commonwealth Act, which was placed before the people on an Article by Article basis. Of the Articles that were placed before the people -two failed to garner the required 50 % +1 to be accepted. A subsequent vote was held on the two articles and both were passed. The Draft Commonwealth Act was then presented to the U.S. Senate and U.S. House ofRepresentatives. The Draft Act was referred to the Committee on Resources and subsequently to the Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Chaired by Virgin Islands Delegate, the Honorable Ron DeLugo, and on which Guam Delegate Antonio B. Won Pat was a Member.
The first hearing on the Draft Act was held in Honolulu by the Subcommittee. The Guam Commission on Self Determination was present at that subcommittee hearing and providing testimony were the following:
1. Governor Joseph F. Ada, Commission Chairman
2. Senator Francisco R. Santos, Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Guam Legislature's Committee on Federal and Foreign Affairs
3. Senator Madeleine Z. Bordallo, representing the Legislative Majority
4. Senator Marilyn Manibusan, representing the Legislative Minority
5. Judge Alberto Lamorena, representing the Superior Court of Guam
6. Mayor Francisco N. Lizama, Mayors Council Member
7. Attorney David Lujan, Public Member
8. Mr. Rufo Taitano, Public Member
Major disagreements surfaced at the public hearing, primarily objections posed by the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, voiced by then Assistant Secretary of Interior Richard Montoya, on the following provisions:
1.The article in the Draft Commonwealth Act which limits the final vote on self-determination to indigenous Chamorros as defined in the Draft Act was an issue of contention. The U.S. Department of Justice noted that there would be Constitutional Issues with such.
2.The article in the Draft Commonwealth Act which calls for MUTUAL CONSENT on any proposed changes to the Commonwealth Act after enactment. The U.S. DOJ argued that this would grant Guam veto power over the Congress and the federal government.
3.The article containing provisions for certain local authorities in the area of immigration.
4.The article containing provisions recognizing the independence of the Guam Judiciary (recognition of the decisions and citations by the Guam courts and the length of the probationary period when all decisions of the Guam courts would be reviewed by the 9th Circuit Court).
The Department of Interior, Office of Insular Affairs, was tasked with conducting negotiations between a federal task force (consisting of several federal agencies) to develop language that would be acceptable to both sides. Chair ofthe DOl team were Asst. Secretary Richard Montoya and Asst. Secretary Stella Guerra. Agreements were reached on several articles and issues, including the issue of immigration and the issue of independence for the Guam Judiciary.
History of the Guam Creation of the Commission on Decolonization
The Commission on Decolonization created by Public Law 23-147 has been inactive for a number of years. The legislation creating the Commission was enacted by IMina' Benti Tres na Liheslaturan Guam, notwithstanding the objections of the Governor, mandated the creation ofa Commission on Decolonization. Public Law 23-147 constitutes the Commission on Decolonization and mandates that those appointed will hold their seats on the Commission for the life of the Commission. The individuals last holding seats on the Commission are:
1. Governor Felix P. Camacho, who relinquishes his seat and Chairmanship upon the inauguration of Governor-Elect Eddie B. Calvo.
2. Speaker Judith T. Won Pat, who retains her seat as Speaker of IMina Trentai Uno na Liheslaturan Guam or, may appoint a Sepator to fill her seat.
3. Senator Eddie B. Calvo, who relinquishes his seat upon inauguration as Governor and assumption of the Chairmanship of the Commission.
4. A representative of the Guam Youth Congress. (Current designation needs to be made).
5. Mayor Melissa Savares, Mayor's Council of Guam or may appoint a Mayor to fill her seat.
6. Dr. Lisa Natividad, appointed by the Governor.
7. Mr. Joe Cruz, appointed by the Governor (pending).
8. Ms. Trini Torres, Independence Task Force representative.
9. Mr. Jose U. Ulloa, Free Association Task Force representative.
10. Former Senator Edward R. Duenas, Statehood Task Force representative.
PL 23-147 mandates that the Commission shall constitute three task forces, each to advocate for one of the three options. Each task force shall consist of seven (7) members from the general public. Staff support for the work of each task force was to be provided by the Commission on Decolonization.
The staff of the Commission consisted of an Executive Director. appointed by the Governor, and two (2) staff assistants. The Commission. like its predecessor, the Commission on Self Determination, was considered a bureau of the Governor's Office. The current Executive Director is Mr. Edward A. Alvarez. It should be noted that for FY 2010 the budget allocation was reduced by 50% of the previous year. It should also be noted that the Commission on Decolonization has no records of any meetings for the past several years nor are there records of any meetings of the three task forces for the same period.
Ongoing Initiatives Towards Chamorro Self-Determination
While the Government of Guam's participation in political status and the area of Chamorro Self Determination has been minimal over the past eight years, there have been a number of initiatives on the part of civil society that has advanced this area of work. Initiatives towards this end have included the following: testimonies before the United Nations' (UN) Committee on Decolonization, the General Assembly's Fourth Committee, and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; participation in the UN Pacific Seminars bi-annually; revitalization of the Chamorro Registry; University of Guam educational initiatives; the production of scholarly articles deepening the legal understanding of Chamorro Self-Determination; the passage of a Congressional authorization to fund a local political status educational campaign; and current efforts by the newly elected Governor of Guam, the Honorable Edward B. Calvo.
United Nations Testimonies
Chamorros on Guam and off-island concerned about Chamorro Self-Determination - particularly in light of the U.S. military build-up-returned to the United Nations to provide testimony on behalf of the indigenous group in 2005. Since then, a delegation representing a variety of Guam, California, and East Coast-based Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) has consistently provided testimony to the United Nations on the question of Chamorro Self-Determination and resolving Guam's political status issue. While there was a lag in visits to the United Nations before 2005, the impending Guam Build-Up motivated concerned groups to reactivate their participation at the United Nations to raise the critical issue. The following is an itemization of delegation members, organizations represented, and the year in which the testimonies were delivered.
Julian Aguon, I Nasion Chamorro
Debtralynn Quinata, I Nasion Chamorro
Fanai Castro, Chamorro Cultural Development and Research Institute
Tiffany Naputi Lacsado, The National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum
Sabina Flores Perez, The International Peoples' Coalition Against Military Pollution
Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero, The Guam Indigenous Collective
Senator Hope Alvarez Cristobal, Organization of People for Indigenous Rights
Julian Aguon, I Nasion Chamorro
Sabina Flores Perez
Senator Vincente C. Pangelinan, Guam Legislature
Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero, I Nasion Chamorro
Craig Santos Perez, Guam Indigenous Collective
Michael Anthony Tuncap, Famoksaiyan
Sabina Flores Perez
Julian Aguon, I Nasion Chamorro
Senator Hope Cristobal, Guam Coalition for Peace and Justice
Julian Aguon, 1 NAsion Chamorro
Michael Anthony Tuncap, Delegation to the UN
Josette Marie Lujan Quinata, Chapman University PI Studies committee
Megan Roberto, Teach for America, Philadelphia chapter
David Roberts, University ofToronto, Dept. of Geography
Destiny Tedtaotao, School of Social Work, Univ. of Southern California
Hope A. Cristobal, PsyD, Famoksaiyan
Michael Anthony Tuncap, Univeristy of California, Ethnic Studies Department
Josette Marie Lujan Quinata, Famoksaiyan
Alfred Peredo Flores, PhD candidate, Department of History, UCLA
My-Lin Nguyen, Famoksaiyan-Southern California Chapter
David Roberts, University ofToronto Department of Geography
Maria Roberts, City University of New York, School of Business
These presentations occurred before a combination of the United Nations' Special Committee on Decolonization, the General Assembly's Fourth Committee, and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. They were generally themed around the human rights violation of the Chamorro peoples' right to self-determination. Further, the threat to the survival of the Chamorro people and their culture in light of the massive planned military build-up was raised. Requests were made for a United Nations intervention to visit Guam and assess the situation. In addition, requests for funds in support of a self-determination campaign for people on Guam were made of the UN, particularly in the absence of support from Guam's administering power, the United States. Attached to this report are a number of testimonies presented before the UN. Presentations before the UN's Special Committee on Decolonization and the General Assembly's Fourth Committee have been made as the traditional approach to evoking the UN in the past. A new intervention strategy was initiated in 2008 when Chamorro Human Rights Attorney, Mr. Julian Aguon, presented before the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. His testimony is seminal in that it explored the use of a different arm of the UN for action. The following is an excerpt of his testimony:
"It is a sad commentary that the Administering Power year after year abstains or votes against UN resolutions addressing the "Quest of Guam " and resolutions reflecting the work of the UN on decolonization including the resolution on the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism and the very recent Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. With this non-support by Guam's administering power, it is no wonder that the list of Non Self-Governing Territories under the administration of the United States has turned half a century old with little progress. "
It is noteworthy to mention that these trips to the United Nations in New York City are either self-funded by the presenter or the sponsoring organization and is rooted in a commitment to advance this work in the interest of the well-being of Guam for future generations.
Revitalization of the Chamorro Registry
In early 2008, a group of individuals concerned about the state of Chamorro Self-Determination called a meeting of parties who have been involved in addressing the issue in a Chamorro Summit. The meeting engaged a planning process that resulted in tangible steps to advance the issue. One of the clear next steps determined was a revitalization of the Chamorro Registry that is necessary for a future plebiscite. Senator Ben Pangelinan committed to take the lead in this area. Through his office, a cadre of over 15 individuals was deputized by the Guam Election Commission to organize opportunities for people to register for the vote. As such, registration booths were set up at community rallies, UOG events, the Liberation Day festivities, and other similar events since 2008. To assist with the process, Senator Pangelinan introduced Bill No. 184-30(COR) which has been passed into law and will append Chamorro Land Trust Commission lessees to the registration roll of the Registry. According to his Chief of Staff, Ms. Lisa Cippiloni, the Guam Election Commission reported on March 2010 a total of 938 people on the Chamorro Registry. She also stated that this figure does not include the Chamorro Land Trust lessees nor the people registered by Senator Pangelinan's office.
University of Guam Educational Initiatives
Various faculty of the University of Guam have demonstrated a commitment to resurrect the discourse on the issue of Chamorro Self-Determination. As such, they have taken the lead on the coordination of meetings, conferences, public fora, colloquia, conference presentations, publications, and planning sessions engaging community members on the topic. The dearth of these activities are beyond the scope of this report, however, the sponsorship of the Division of Social Work of the annual colloquium presented by Dr. Carlyle Corbin is worthy of mention. Dr. Corbin is a United Nations Advisor on decolonization and an internationally recognized expert on the decolonization process. Attached to this report are his presentations given on November 9, 2009 and November 30, 2010 at the University of Guam titled, "Self Determination, Globalization, and Militarization: Some Thoughts on Non-Self-Governing Territories in the 21 st Century" and "Recent Developments in Small Island Governance: Implications for the Self-Determination Process" respectively. An additional resource attached to this report is Dr. Corbin's "Analysis of the Implementation of the United Nations Decolonisation Mandate during the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism (2001-2010) and Strategies for Completion of the Decolonization Mandate", which he delivered in New Caledonia in May 2010 as the designated UN expert providing the review. The Division of Social Work is committed to organizing his visit on an annual basis. as his profound knowledge of the decolonization process serves as a resource for advancing local understanding.
Another educational initiative at the University of Guam entails the development of a course specifically focused on decolonization as it applies to the case of Guam. The faculty members are currently formulating the decolonization course and hope to have it added to the Chamorro Studies program curriculum in Spring of 2011. The course will likely be cross-listed with social work to make the information available to a wider range of students.
Published Scholarly Articles
Contributing to the literature available in the area of Chamorro Self-Determination, two Chamorro attorneys who are now practicing on Guam published articles in their tenure as students with the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Their papers deepen the discussion of Chamorro Self-Determination by exploring the application of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Aguon) and examining the option of free-association with U.S. Citizenship (Gutierrrez). Aguon's article is contained in the attachments of this report and the citation is as follows:
Aguon, J. (2008). Other Arms: The Power of a Dual Rights Legal Strategy for the Chamorro People of Guam Using the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in U.S. Courts, 31 U. HAW. L. REV. 113.
Gutierrez's article is not contained in this report, however, the citation and introductory paragraph is as follows:
Copyright (c) 2003 William S. Richardson School of Law [J..]University of Hawaii Asian Pacific
Law & Policy Journal
COMMENT: Guam's Future Political Status: An Argument/or Free Association with U.S.Citizenship
4 Asian-Pacific L. & Pol'y J. 5
Hannah M.T. Gutierrez
For more than three hundred years, the island of Guam has been subjected to colonial rule and denied full self-governance. 1 Spain claimed Guam in 1565, and established Spanish rule in 1668. 2 After the Spanish-American War, Guam's centuries-long colonizer formally ceded the island to the United States with the ratification 0/the Treaty 0/Paris in 1899. 3 With the exception of a three-year period during World War II when Japanese forces occupied Guam (1941 to 1944), the island has since remained under the control of the United States. 4 At present, this island of U.S. citizens is "one of the oldest colonial dependencies in the world. " 5
Currently, Guam is governed by an act of Congress, the Guam Organic Act of 1950. 6 The powers given to Guam under the Organic Act, however, are "merely delegated powers that can be changed or taken away at the will of Congress." 7 Guam's current political status is that an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States--a territory that has a civil government established by Congress but is not considered to be in transition to statehood. 8 The United States granted its citizenship to the "native inhabitants" 9 of Guam with the signing of the Guam Organic Act; however, those who received their citizenship through this Act do not receive the full protections of the U.S. Constitution. 10
Federal funds (from DOI OIA) have been authorized for a political status educational program. The funds can be granted to Guam from the U.S. Department of Interior. It is recommended by the Subcommittee that the incoming Administration contact Assistant Secretary for Insular Affairs, US Department of Interior, Tony Babauta, to determine the designated use of the funds for the political status educational program. A recommendation has been suggested that the political status public education program can be better accomplished by the University of Guam. If this is the desired direction of the incoming Administration, a review of Public Law 23-147 would be necessary to determine if further legislation is needed to transfer the educational program to the University of Guam. It is noteworthy to mention that no money has been appropriated to fund the passage of the congressional initiative and as a result, no funds have been made available to Guam to fund said educational campaign.
Initiatives of Newly Elected Governor, the Honorable Edward B. Calvo
The island's newly elected Governor of Guam has made a stem commitment toward Chamorro self-determination and exclaimed the administering power and Guam must change its relationship to one of a partnership where all interests are respected and considered. Throughout the campaign trail and especially during his inaugural address, he made assertions on the importance of this inalienable right and the "sacred trust" which must be given and to date has accomplished the following:
1. Appointed an Executive Director.
2. Empanelled the Board of Commission on Decolonization.
3. Submitted a supplemental budget request to fund the Commission immediately instead of waiting until the next budget call.
4. Held a Chamorro forum in March 2011 to hear what the stakeholders had to say and listen to the history of the plight of the Chamorro people.
5. Committed to assisting the Chamorro registry by registering voters while out on his weekly village visits.
6. Secure funding from the Department of Interior for the education program of this effort.
1. The United Nations enter into the third decade for the eradication of colonialism;
2. Guam not be removed from the United Nations list of Non Self-Governing Territories; and
3. Militarism has historically been viewed as an impediment to the decolonization process. That the United Nations use its authority to prohibit administering powers from developing or expanding their military presence in Non Self-Governing Territories.
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